How to recognise an HIP child?

Are you wondering how to tell if your child is HIP? It's hardly surprising at a time when gifted children seem to be on the increase. But what does it really mean to have High Intellectual Potential? And what does it imply? Let's take a look at what we mean and deconstruct preconceived ideas...
Babaoo The Mag How to recognise an HIP child?
HPI definition - High Intellectual Potential

Have you noticed how ‘High Intellectual Potentials’ (HIPs) seem to have been on the rise in recent years? There’s almost certainly a ‘gifted’, ‘intellectually precocious’ or ‘philo-cognitive’ child in your life. Wondering how to recognise an HIP child? – Babaoo Mag has the facts for you! 💡

But by the way, what exactly is HIP?

The first thing to know about HIP is that it is not a disorder. This is why we talk about identification and not diagnosis in the case of HIP. What scientists have been able to observe, on the other hand, is a more powerful activation of certain cerebral areas when carrying out a given task. This would explain the slightly different way in which HIP children function…

A faster brain… but not always more efficient

For a long time, the idea was promoted that HIPs had what is known as “tree thinking”: an ability to direct their thinking in a multitude of directions at the same time, with each idea breaking down into sub-ideas, themselves divided into a hundred or so others. 🤯 A bit like the branches of a tree, which start from the trunk (the initial subject) and spread out in all directions into an infinite number of branches (the associated concepts).

Today, we know that HIP people process information in the same way as anyone else, i.e. one after the other. What differentiates them, however, is the speed with which information is transmitted to their neurons. So their brains would not be more efficient, but more powerful: HIP s would not necessarily perform cognitive tasks better, but would have the ability to perform them more quickly!

The 3 characteristics of HIPs

This cognitive alertness explains why we generally associate 3 characteristics with HIP people:

  • A precocity of development
  • A richness of language
  • A speed of learning

But that’s not all! HIP s are also said to be characterised by their great creativity. In fact, as well as having a high speed of reasoning, they are said to have a sharp aptitude for creating new associations of ideas that are often perceived as highly original. That said, just because your little one has stumped you more than once with his unexpected thoughts doesn’t necessarily mean he’s an HIP!

To date, there is one and only one criterion for identifying a person with high intellectual potential with certainty: IQ level.

An IQ equal to or greater than 130

Are you wondering whether your child is HIP? There’s only one way to decide the question: give him or her an IQ test. If the score obtained is greater than or equal to 130, we speak of high intellectual potential. 

But be on your guard, only one test is recognised as scientifically valid: the Wechsler test, which must be administered by a (neuro)psychologist. Furthermore, in cases where the HIP child also has an associated neurodevelopmental disorder (ADHD, dyslexia etc.), it can happen that only certain IQ indices are above 130, without the total score being so! This is known as a “heterogeneous IQ”.

Bref, identifying an HIP is not as simple as it seems… So if you want to take the plunge, forget the questionnaires you find on the Internet and surround yourself instead with knowledgeable health professionals who will really be able to identify a high intellectual potential functioning.

As for the warning signs that should point you in the direction of a HIP? Here too, caution…☝️

Signs of high intellectual potential, beware of preconceived ideas!

HIP is a fashionable subject. This over-mediatisation suggests that this singular mode of functioning is extremely widespread. However, the current international consensus is that only 2.3% of the population have high intellectual potential! So beware of jumping to hasty conclusions: a multitude of clichés and stereotypes revolve around HIP, in particular conveying the idea that it would constitute a real handicap in the lives of our little ones…

HIP children would be unsuitable for school

We often hear that it is common for high intellectual potentials to encounter difficulties at school. What’s more, more and more parents explain their child’s falling results by the fact that they are “too far ahead” of the school curriculum!

The truth is, while intellectual precocity can indeed give rise to a form of boredom, a lack of interest in the subject matter seen in class as being ‘too easy’, no link has yet been scientifically established between academic failure and HIP. Nor the reverse, for that matter! In the vast majority of cases, HIPs succeed neither better nor worse than their little buddies: some fail, others achieve excellent results.

Your child is experiencing difficulties at school? Don’t forget that a multitude of factors influence success at school: it’s more than likely that their IQ level has nothing to do with it!

HIPs would be more likely to develop associated disorders

Another widespread idea about HIP is that it goes hand in hand with the presence of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. High-potential children are more likely than others to suffer from dyslexia, anxiety, depression, or even ADHD or hypersensitivity. In other words, high intellectual potential is synonymous with suffering and difficulties in life… However, here again, there is no scientific data to support a correlation between these pathologies and HIP…

This confusion stems from the fact that, generally speaking, it is the symptoms of these different disorders that prompt parents to seek help. The result? Doctors only see high potentials who are not doing well, and we deduce that HIP is a heavy burden to bear!

What if we told you that in reality, the majority of little HIPs are doing wonderfully well? They’re just far too busy scanning and exploring the world around them for anyone to notice… 🌞

HIPs are said to have difficulties with relationships

One last cliché for the road: being HIP would necessarily mean being socially awkward. After all, it’s a well-known fact: you can’t be blessed with supreme intelligence and at the same time be good at making friends… Yep, we all have the image in our heads of the nerd who spends his life in his books, and who nobody invites to birthday parties because “he’s really too weird”.

Doctor of Psychology Mehdi Liratni begs to differ! No, high intellectual potentials don’t have more relationship problems Although their markedly different way of functioning can sometimes make them feel “out of step” or misunderstood, it in no way impairs their ability to make lots of little friends! Quite the contrary: most of the time, these children have a high level of emotional intelligence, making them particularly capable of showing empathy and being diplomatic…

So what if having a high intellectual potential wasn’t a flaw after all? 🤔

The Babaoo recap

Does your child seem particularly alert for their age?Do they devour books that are bigger than they are, finish their class exercises at lightning speed and regularly surprise you with the originality of their thoughts? 🤓

The answer is yes: there’s a good chance he’s HIP. But, between us, is it really necessary to give him an IQ test to make sure? Finally, if your child’s only problem is being “super-awake”, then maybe you just need to admit that… there’s no problem! Marvel at your little adventurer’s alertness and let him experience the world with his own intelligence and, above all, at his own pace. Because, as you’ll have realised, the brains of HIP children are no better or worse than those of other children – they just make connections a little more quickly!

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